It's 2012: The Hot Poop on the New Zappa Reissues

(or: What We Knew and When We Knew It)

In August 2012, the unthinkable happened: the Zappa catalog got reissued again, and this site suddenly had a renewed purpose. The first question on everybody's mind is "do I need any of these new CDs?" The individual album pages will eventually contain in-depth answers. Here, however, you'll find your one stop shop for quick and pithy two formats, no less:

First, a handy-dandy set of tables (well, err, one for now).

Second, a list!

In general, the albums worth repurchasing are ones that are new analog transfers, plus "Them or Us." The albums that already had "good" versions (YAWYI, Tinseltown, Joe's Garage, SUAPYG) may be marginal for some.

Note that the 2012 compilation, "Understanding America," does not use the 2012 audio; instead, it's a mishmash of older variations. Do not judge the 2012 reissues based on that compilation!

Some of this content is still speculative, and it is ever evolving. Not all of the differences are as-yet accounted for (because not all of the discs are out yet, although everything is currently available on iTunes). Also, because this is intended as a quick reference, artwork differences and super-minor differences are generally not accounted for.

What You Need and Why: The Table (Assuming Ownership of the 1995 Rykodisc Remasters)

Album Title Why It's Necessary
Absolutely Free New remaster; no reverb, no mock stereo.
Hot Rats Original vinyl mix, vastly different from all other CDs (which you should keep)
Burnt Weeny Sandwich New master, no digital reverb, better sound.
Weasels Ripped My Flesh New master, no reverb or right-channel glitches, but old CD has extended versions
Chunga's Revenge New master, no digital reverb, no glitches, WAY better sound.
Fillmore East, 1971 New master, no reverb/glitches, WILLIE PART 2!
Just Another Band from LA Reverts to the vinyl version (not everyone is thrilled, though)
Waka/Jawaka No more reverb, sounds better.
The Grand Wazoo No more reverb or exxagerated treble, sounds better. Some copies are defective, though; be careful.
Over-Nite Sensation New master, no digital reverb.
Apostrophe New master, LP version, no digital reverb. Probably optional for Au20 owners.
One Size Fits All New master, no digital reverb. Once thought optional for Au20 owners, but no longer.
Bongo Fury New master, no digital reverb. Some aren't quite pleased with the result, but it is still an upgrade from the previous edition.
Zoot Allures New master, no reverb, FINALLY sounds good.
Studio Tan New master. Keep your old disc for the Greggery remix.
Sleep Dirt Reverts to the instrumental vinyl version. Keep your old disc for the vocals.
Sheik Yerbouti New master, no glitches or weird edits. Essential.
Joe's Garage New master, improved sound quality only. (The old version wasn't bad, but this will probably be an upgrade for most people.)
Tinsel-town Rebellion Sounds as good as the 1998 Ryko, but with odd segues eliminated.
Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar Reported to be a sound quality upgrade, and eliminates the crossfade before "Stucco Homes."
You Are What You Is Sounds as good as the 1998 Ryko, but with "Dumb All Over" edit eliminated.
Them or Us No more right-channel glitches, but keep your old disc for the extended title track.

Album-by-Album List

Legend: Green means buy. Blue means buy, but keep your old disc, too. Purple means we're uncertain. Red means don't bother. Grey means "judgment call." Albums are listed in date order and may become prettier later on.
  • Freak Out!: Same as the old CDs. The vinyl mix is on MoFo (either version).
  • Absolutely Free: A huge upgrade and a new transfer; the tape shows its age, but whatever. No more reverb!
  • We're Only In It For the Money: Same as the 1995 CD. Unless, god forbid, your only copy of this is the remix from the 1980s-era CDs, you don't need this.
  • Lumpy Gravy: Same as the 1995 CD (with the mono glitch, unfortunately).
  • Cruising with Ruben and the Jets: Same as the old CDs. The vinyl mix is on Greasy Love Songs.
  • Uncle Meat: Same as the old CDs (exception: those with the old Zappa Records disc will find this to be a slight upgrade, but any old Ryko would be the same upgrade). The vinyl version is, as of 2016, on the Meat Light collection. Get that one instead.
  • Hot Rats: Reverts to the original vinyl mix for the first time--essential. But keep your old disc for the remix.
  • Burnt Weeny Sandwich: New remaster; eliminates the reverb and restores the "Little House" intro. Get it!
  • Weasels Ripped My Flesh: New remaster, fixing (among other things) the bad right channel. Your old disc (any) is essential for some slightly extended versions.
  • Chungas's Revenge: New remaster. Removes the digital reverb and fixes the right channel. Great!
  • Fillmore East, 1971: New remaster. Removes reverb and echo and restores "Willie the Pimp Pt. 2."
  • Just Another Band from LA: New remaster. Removes reverb and fixes the stereo spectrum. Some online have panned it for being too loud and bassy, though.
  • 200 Motels: N/A; not yet available. Planned for release (at least strongly hinted), but no details have emerged.
  • Waka/Jawaka: Reverts to the dry vinyl version. A great upgrade.
  • The Grand Wazoo: Still has the switched tracks of post-1990 versions, but otherwise sounds like the vinyl. However, because some people are having trouble playing the new CD, you  may want to keep one of your old versions for now.
  • Over-Nite Sensation: Reverts to the dry vinyl version. A great upgrade.
  • Apostrophe: Reverts to the original stereo mix (all non-Au20 CDs are made from the quad mix with added processing). New digital transfer. Those with the Au20 (or a stealth equivalent) can view this as optional, unless the glitch at the beginning of "Debris" really bothers you. You'll want to keep one of your older discs for the quad reduction.
  • Roxy and Elsewhere: Same as the old CDs. Find a first-version Barking Pumpkin or a Zappa Records CD for the original mix of "Cheepnis," which is replaced here by a remix.
  • One Size Fits All: New transter. Eliminates the reverb from the old disc. Those with Au20 discs (or the apparently very common stealth regular version) can view this as an option; the EQ is different, but it isn't a huge departure. 2017 update: the Au20 appears to use a slight variation on the vinyl mix, so you'll need the 2012 for the original mix regardless of what you previously had.
  • Bongo Fury: New transfer, reverts to the unprocessed vinyl version. Some online were calling it "weird," but until we get deets, this is firmly in the green column.
  • Zoot Allures: New remaster; early word is positive.
  • Lšther: Different artwork, different tracklisting (it loses the bonus tracks), sourced from the 1996 digital master. The.
  • Zappa In New York: iTunes samples suggest that this is the same as the previous CDs.
  • Studio Tan: New master, but you'll want to keep your old disc for the "Greggary" remix.
  • Sleep Dirt: New remaster. NO VOCALS, nor any Chad Wackerman. Keep your old disc for the "Hutchentoot" vocal tracks and the Regyptian remix (if you don't already have it on Lather).
  • Sheik Yerbouti: New remaster that fixes right-channel problems and restores I'm So Cute. Been getting raves. Get it.
  • Orchestral Favorites: Reported to match the old CDs, "right down to the reversed channels."
  • Joe's Garage: New remaster. This is getting good reviews, but as the old CD sounded pretty good--and as this is rarely a discount-price title--those with the older CD may not need to run to this. Insane completists will note that the new CD programs the between-sides silence differently and uses a slightly--SLIGHTLY--different version of "Joe's Garage," so completists who indulge in the new copy will want to hang on to an older edition, too.
  • Tinsel-Town Rebellion: New remaster. Sounds as good as the 1998 Spencer remaster, but eliminates the iffy crossfades. This is definitive so far.
  • Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar: Regarded as a sound upgrade at the moment. Eliminates the weird segue before "Stucco Homes." Super-essential for those with the old, Zappa Records CD from 1990, which we just realized sucks eggs.
  • You Are What You Is: Matches the best qualities of the EMI CD (full album, no edits) with the 1998 Spencer CD (great sound). Definitive.
  • Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch: Same as the old CDs, or so we hear.
  • The Man From Utopia: The same as the remix on the old, non-EMI CDs.
  • Baby Snakes: Uncertain. We have precious little info about this album, period.
  • LSO: This was a digital recording and is probably the same as the 1995 CD. Earlier CDs contained a different mix of the relevant performances.
  • The Perfect Stranger: Same as the post-Barking Pumpkin CDs. Unless you only have the EMI CD, you don't need this.
  • Them Or Us: Conditional. Fixes the right-channel audio problems and reverts to the first version of "Them Or Us," without the digital glitch at the beginning of the track. Probably worth an upgrade for most people, but hang on to your '95 or Zappa Records discs for the extended, alternative mix of "Them Or Us."
  • Thing-Fish: Signs suggest that this is the most "recent" version of the album, so you don't need to purchase this if you have any disc released after 1990.
  • Francesco Zappa: Unsure.
  • Mothers of Prevention: Unsure, but unlikely to be any different (from the 1995, at least; earlier versions were slightly different).
  • Does Humor Belong in Music: The same as the 1995 disc, but with a variation on the 1980s cover. Those with only the old EMI disc may want to grab it, as it's a different mix.
  • Jazz from Hell: The same as the old discs
  • Guitar: Confirmed identical to the old discs..
  • "Stage" series: We have confirmation that at least "Volume 2" is exactly the same as the old disc. This trend probably extends to the rest of them.
  • Broadway the Hard Way: Same as the old discs.
  • Best Band: Unsure, but unlikely to be any different (although the old Barking Pumpkin and 1995 Ryko had different EQ).
  • Make a Jazz Noise Here: Unsure, but unlikely to be any different.
  • Playground Psychotics: Unsure, but unlikely to be any different.
  • Ahead of Their Time: Same as the old discs.
  • The Yellow Shark: Same as the old discs.
  • Have I Offended Someone?: Same as the old discs.
  • The Lost Episodes: Same as the old discs (and reported to have problematic liner notes).
  • Mystery Disc: Same as the old discs (and reported to have severely problematic liner notes).

home - vinyl vs CDs - weirdo discography - bootlegs - misc - hot lynx - e-mail us at zappa dot patio at gmail dot com 2006-04-22 20:02

Search WWW Search all of

DISCLAIMER: people quoted may not share webmaster's opinions (on James Brown); information culled from many sources with no guarantees; site may look bad in other than latest Internet Explorer for Windows (I wish I were skilled enough to change this last one).